Arrow-right Camera

Athletes weathered mean spring

I hope the North Idaho 3A, 2A and 1A track athletes who had to suffer through the most miserable weather this spring last Saturday have dried and thawed out by now.

At least the Post Falls softball team didn’t have to play in a downpour in the 5A state championship game at Twin Falls. All the Trojans had to deal with was some hail, snow and steady wind gusts of more than 30 mph.

One state track official said in his 50 years of attending state the weather Saturday for the finals for the small schools was the worst he’d seen. Athletes had to endure a steady rain, biting cold and some snow accumulation for seven hours.

If it had been a regular-season meet, it would have been canceled. But it’s state and state meets trudge forward and stop for nothing unless there’s lightning.

You should have seen it. Athletes running through, in some places, ankle-deep water because it couldn’t drain fast enough. Miserable doesn’t begin to describe things.

I drove to Twin Falls to cover the 5A state softball final and returned to Boise to catch state track. On the way to Twin Falls, I drove through blizzard conditions for a 10-mile stretch. On my return, I encountered blizzard conditions for a 25-mile stretch. It was worse than any wintery conditions I saw in North Idaho in January and February. And it was May 22. Good grief.

It’s no coincidence that North Idaho athletes were successful at state despite the elements. Hey, it’s what they train in all spring.

Today I will accompany teammate Dave Trimmer to Tacoma for state track, boys soccer and softball. Out of curiosity – and the fact I’m going to pack plenty of warm clothes for this trip – I took a gander at the extended forecast for the Tacoma area.

It appears grim at this point. The forecast calls for a 50 percent chance of rain today and Friday, downgrading to 30 percent on Saturday.

Any time I see a forecast that says 50 percent chance of rain, I turn it around. It means it will rain 50 percent of the time.

•I got to thinking about all of Washington’s spring state tournaments taking place on Memorial Day weekend. Can anybody explain to me why this occurs?

In Idaho, they wrap up the spring season the weekend before. Anyway, why can’t Washington schools either shorten their spring season by a week so that all the state tournaments can be completed the weekend before Memorial Day weekend?

Maybe I’m missing something here. Maybe school officials, athletes and coaches like giving up a holiday weekend for state tournaments.

•If 4A Greater Spokane League baseball teams couldn’t get past Columbia Basin Big Nine teams this year and earn a berth in the state semifinals, it could be a while.

The CBBN 4A teams were considered down this year, because most of them were young overall. The CBBN teams expect to be much stronger next year.

And from the looks of it, the 4A GSL teams will be a tad weaker next year. Co-GSL champ Central Valley graduates all but one starter. Ferris will return a solid nucleus, but needs to develop pitching. Mead and Lewis and Clark also have holes to fill.

•This is my final column of the school year. I want to say thanks to all the Spokane-area people who have made my transition to Eastern Washington/North Idaho prep writer smooth. Your kind words have meant a lot.

I look forward to returning to this corner in the fall.